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Literary Minute April 2023

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Behind Her Eyes Book Cover.jpgReleased in January 2017, Behind Her Eyes, by Sarah Pinborough, is another thriller that looked appealing to me. There’s also a Netflix adaptation that came out in 2021, so I’ll be checking that out to compare. As we all know, the book is usually better than the movie or series, but in this case, I’ll be honest, I hope the adaptation is better, because I feel like I got bamboozled.

You may recall, I love a good thriller and mystery. This is typically the genre I stick too. I do venture off to the fun “summer beach reads” that have locations in the south and low country. Those books feature places I’ve been too and I can visualize them as I read or listen. But I digress, let’s get back to Behind Her Eyes.

 I do not want to give a lot away, but this did not end as I thought it would and I’m not impressed. I figured it was a typical thriller. Louise, a divorcee with a little boy, meets a nice man at a bar and has a great night of conversation and a kiss. Turns out that the man, David, is her new boss, a psychiatrist, (well that’s going to be awkward). Louise runs into Adele one day, which turns out to be David’s wife. You can where I thought this was going. I was thinking stalker, revenge type thriller.

Louise who seems lonely, becomes good friends with Adele. Louise’s son has gone on a vacation with his dad and new stepmom, and she starts spending more and more time with Adele. Adele doesn’t want David to know about their friendship. Red flag here! It seems as if David may be controlling and not the picture-perfect husband that everyone thinks he is. He controls her inheritance, he’s prescribing her drugs, her calls her all the time. Louise is fine with this because she’s keeping a secret herself…David! Little does Louise know, she’s being manipulated.

The story has flashbacks to Adele and David’s earlier years and bounces back and forth between Louise and Adele telling their parts of the story. I thought the first part of the book was good, but pieces of it started to bother me and I was realizing this wasn’t going to be the typical thriller I read or listen to. There’s sleepwalking, lucid dreaming, and astral projection. As I kept going, it just got weirder and weirder. As this was another audio book, I kept rewinding parts of it trying to figure out what was going on. I finished it though.

In the end, the book reminds me of if the movies The Skeleton Key and Inception had a kid, it would be Behind her Eyes. Which, I’ve seen both movies but haven’t read the books yet. It does have mixed reviews in the online book groups I belong to. You either love it or hate it. Another author I love, Charlaine Harris (she wrote the Sookie Stackhouse series – True Blood), said “Behind Her Eyes is as twisty as a steep mountain road, and just as nerve-wracking. The shocks just keep coming around those blind curves.” She’s got that right, it is nerve-wracking.

I listened to the book on the cloudLibrary app and it was 11 hours and 29 minutes long, but you can find the book on all the major sites and I’m sure it’s in all the libraries.